Delhi Dynamos make the long journey south to Mumbai on Saturday with hopes of getting their campaign up and running in earnest with their first win of the season. However, they will be up against a Mumbai City FC side desperately seeking a positive result after being completely outclassed in their last match by FC Goa.
Mumbai and Delhi have faced similar problems in the early stages of the ISL 2018-19 campaign, with both teams having scored just three goals each so far, after failing to convert their chances when they get them.
Mumbai's wastefulness in front of goal has been especially glaring, with the team having attempted 52 shots over the course of four games of which only three were converted into goals. Lucian Goian, Rafael Bastos and Subhasish Bose were guilty of missing fairly straightforward opportunities in the first half of the match against Goa, misses that ultimately proved to be costly.
For Delhi, the attacking trio of Nandhakumar Sekar, Lallianzuala Chhangte and Andrija Kaludjerovic have just the one goal between them, with Kaludjerovic nodding in to level scores against Kerala Blasters. Chhangte has been tireless in his work on the left flank of Delhi, but the 20-year-old from Mizoram has come up short on several occasions, failing to finish off chances when it mattered most. Delhi have managed to get 10 shots on target in four games, out of a total 37.
Despite being a point above Delhi Dynamos after four games, the pressure is on Mumbai City head coach Jorge Costa after Wednesday's 5-0 thrashing at the hands of FC Goa. Costa will have to look no further than neighbours Pune City FC to see the consequences of having a poor start to the season, after Pune coach Miguel Angel Portugal was booted out the door after just three matches in charge.
The Mumbai head coach was critical of his players in the pre-match press conference, admitting that their performance against FC Goa was down to a lack of focus from the team. He also mentioned that he was ashamed of his players for giving up, a statement that is likely intended to elicit some form of a response from his players.
Costa's counterpart Josep Gombau is also in a spot of bother at the moment, with Delhi still seeking their first win of the campaign after four games. The team from the capital have done well to grind out a couple of draws, with their defence holding on to eke out a clean sheet against a relentless Chennaiyin FC attack. However, the team has shown a worrying tendency to concede goals in the eleventh hour, letting in an 88th minute equaliser against Pune and an 84th minute winner against ATK.
Having come into a squad that is in the process of rebuilding, Costa has had to work with limited resources in recent matches, a problem that is exemplified by a lack of viable options available to him for the role of centre-back. The Portuguese manager has attempted to solve his defensive conundrum by shifting Indian left-back Subhasish Bose into a central role, a decision that seemed to be paying off until Mumbai's capitulation against Goa.
Subhasish was solely to blame for Miguel Palanca's first goal in the 84th minute of Mumbai's match against Goa, after giving away the ball under pressure to an onrushing Manvir Singh, who slid in an inch-perfect pass for Palanca to slot into an empty goal. The 23-year-old defender also came close to giving away penalties on two occasions, after bringing down FC Goa's Coro, but was saved by lapses in officiating.
Mumbai's new acquisitions have failed to hit the ground running, with the likes of Bastos and Paulo Machado failing to impose themselves on games, in spite of getting a decent amount of game time right off the bat. Bastos has shown good movement off the ball and the speedy Brazilian striker has repeatedly gotten into good positions, firing off seven shots in his four games. However, with only one goal to his name, his conversion rate hovers around 14 percent, which is not ideal.
Injuries to key players has further compounded Mumbai's misery, with goalkeeper Amrinder Singh being unavailable for the upcoming match against Mumbai after being substituted against Goa. The goalkeeper has been one of the few players performing well for Mumbai and pulled off a couple of great saves against Goa. However, the potential return of Matias Mirabaje may be just the boost that Mumbai require to dig themselves out of their predicament.
The two sides will be eyeing a victory in the upcoming match, which would give them a good platform to salvage their campaign, making this a high-stakes fixture for both teams involved.
Updated Date: Oct 27, 2018 12:56 PM